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Mayoral elections for Srinagar municipality to be held today


Mayoral elections for Srinagar municipality to be held today

India Britannica
Photo: Britannica

Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, will host a mayoral election today amid allegations of partisan betrayal and political manipulation from the Indian central government.

Details surrounding Kashmiri politics are as of now opaque, owing to a government-imposed lockdown and communications blackout. Last month, incumbent mayor Junaid Mattu lost a no-confidence vote in the city’s municipal corporation, which elects the mayor, for allegedly stalking and threatening city corporators. Denying the charges and claiming a conspiracy against him, Mattu filed to stand for re-election in today’s contest. He is opposed by former deputy mayor Imran Sheikh, who was ousted last December over corruption allegations but is expected to win the vote of Srinagar’s corporators.

Though it has only a small formal presence in the corporation, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is thought to have orchestrated Mattu’s fall and Sheikh’s rise by collaborating with local parties. While the substance of allegations against Mattu have yet to be verified, the Indian government has sought to exercise greater control over Jammu and Kashmir’s internal politics. Mattu’s deposition could act as a signal to other elected officials in the territory to stay within New Delhi’s orbit.

With talks to restore autonomy to the territory stalled and the killing of a BJP official last week, the Indian government’s occupation and strong-arming of local politics looks unlikely to change in the near future.

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